Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Arslikhan
I say "almost" universally, because over at the Northcliffe House bunker, there is one observer of Parliamentary proceedings who can be guaranteed to award any such encounter to the Tories in the retelling. Yes, for Daily Mail readers, It Never Really Happened, as the odious Quentin Letts (let's not) decreed that Corbyn emerging victorious merited no more than a no-score draw.
The headline set the scene: "Corbyn and May clunked shells like two tortoises: QUENTIN LETTS endures a very boring PMQs". Jezza had gone with Grammar Schools, and here he was on solid ground: Labour is against their reintroduction, and so are many Tories. Quent had an answer to that: "grammar schools. How many experts backed them? Ah, experts. You may remember them from the EU referendum campaign, where they got almost everything 100 per cent wrong".
Laugh? I thought I'd never start. And all that Letts is prepared to admit about the PM's less than convincing reply is "Mrs May was oddly evasive", rather than that she was somewhere between mediocre and very poor indeed. Quent effectively admits this as he then goes on to explain away all those pundits who stated the bleeding obvious.
"The Twitterati adjudged Mr Corbyn yesterday's victor, a few even claiming he 'flattened' Mrs May ... I suspect Mr Corbyn was written up by Westminster insiders for two reasons. First, the 'Corbyn os useless' narrative has become stale. Second, the gilded elite shared his view on Grammar Schools. This is not necessarily to Mrs May's disadvantage. The more it becomes apparent that her desire for meritocracy is opposed by the blobbish establishment, the more she may appeal as a change candidate". And to that I call bullshit.
Quentin Letts has no room to talk of the "gilded elite": he is an integral part of it. Grammar Schools have been shown not to produce a truly meritocratic outcome. The idea that all those who have of late passed severely adverse comment on Jeremy Corbyn's leadership would back off just for a change in narrative is as preposterous as it is laughable. The use of "the blob" to smear the education profession was lame when the loathsome Toby Young used it, and worse when Quent tries. And Theresa May as a "change candidate"? Pull the other one.
Letts has previous form with this kind of dishonest reinvention: he infamously pretended that the exchange between London's formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Mil the Younger on The Andy Marr Show (tm) had been won by Bozza, when anyone who had been watching would have seen a relaxed and confident Miliband reduce Johnson to blustering at Marr about where he went to school.
Jeremy Corbyn won PMQs hands down yesterday. Quentin Letts is plain flat wrong. That is all.